Saturday, 6 November 2010

Sedation Experiment, Day 3

Last night I slept reasonably well, I woke up once around 3 AM and fell asleep again until 5 AM when the dogs downstairs began to howl. I decided to get up at that point. Again I tried to assess my emotional condition and noticed an increase in the persistence of emotions, essentially in the proliferation of emotionally charged thoughts. After taking my first valerian pill of the day this quickly subsided until the pill truly began to work. This was noticeable by a distinct sensation of warmth throughout my body, combined with a feeling of peace and happiness.

My general mood can be described as distant. Functionally nothing seems to be amiss; my ability to recall and store memories seems unaffected, and I can perform my work without any difficulties. Communications with others, whether digitally or verbally - like earlier today when I went to the neighbours' to play a few games of Settlers of Catan - are as far as I can determine normal.

I can still feel the emotional responses, but it's as though they're at the other side of a padded wall, allowing me to only feel the vibrations of their pounding on the wall, so to speak. Thoughts of socializing, of friends and such largely emotional constructs fleetingly make their appearance before vanishing into the aether again.

What I'm most curious about is whether this all can be considered to be emotional suppression in the sense that the emotions are still there but ignored, or that they are truly just faint and unremarkable. This with regard to the possibility of an emotional backlash. Today I feel any emotions more strongly than yesterday and the day before that, but it is hard to derive any conclusions from this, as I know from previous experiences that weekends like this are accompanied by an intense feeling of loneliness, confusion and an almost pitiful desire for Pieter to return home.

It would be logical to conclude therefore that what I have experienced these past few days in terms of emotional response is just the usual pattern, but strongly reduced in amplitude. Tomorrow a similar feeling to what I feel today should then persist, which will then start subsiding again by Monday through the rest of the week, until the next time Pieter leaves for another weekend or so.

While I'm grateful that these pills have allowed me to gain a semblance of normality, one aspect I'm somewhat worried about, although it could be perfectly normal. This refers to an earlier statement of mine, on the fading of things the moment they're no longer actively being referred to. That statement referred to emotions in specific, but it seems to be more generic than I thought.

When I said that I no longer have to care about things, I should add that it's more like I just can not care. Not unless I really focus on it, or if it's something purely intellectual. My awareness of this world around me has changed together with its perception by me. The lack of emotions may play a role, in creating this sense of disconnect. When I look around my own room, I don't really feel anything. When I think about Pieter I don't feel anything. When I think about my family, I don't feel anything in particular. When I think about my body and medical situation I feel a tinge of sadness, but that's about the extent of it.

Is this a bad thing? After spending years in an emotional turmoil after snapping out of my 15-year emotional withdrawal it's actually kind of comforting. Emotions, when it comes down to it, are mostly painful anyway, and the more pleasant and innocent emotions I can still feel despite everything. I can feel joy, happiness, contentment and similar, maybe because they too are relaxing emotions, and thus aren't blocked by the increased stimulation of the GABA receptors unlike more negative or disruptive emotions which would instead go for the excitatory glutamate receptors.

So far I would say that this experiment seems to be going well. Tomorrow I'll spend the morning at the swimming pool. It'll be interesting to see how I'll experience that event.



Carin said...

Ik vond iets op de scheurkalender met "oma weet raad"-weetjes.
Met valeriaan moet je oppassen voor een overdosis. Een overdosis kan vermoeidheid, trillen en maagkrampen veroorzaken.

Enne, emoties zijn emoties. Just that. Wat je ermee doet of welk labeltje je eraan hangt, is allemaal je eigen invulling. Als je door die valeriaan je emoties van een "afstandje" kunt observeren, is dat wel zo prettig. Misschien kun je op die manier je eigen reactie op die emoties wat meer sturen zodat het voor jou prettiger "werken/leven" is.

Good luck.

Maya Posch said...

Of course taking too much of anything is a bad idea. I'm safely below the maximum dose for valerian, so there is no problem there. Sometimes I know what I'm doing :)

Ask anyone who has PTSD and they'll tell you that emotions to them aren't just emotions, but rather something which makes them do and say things they do not mean or want to. It makes them into a different person. They hate it, and I hate it, but there's so little you can do about it.

Learning to deal with the traumas which cause the PTSD is one way. Using medication helps for a while, but is most definitely not a fix.

In my case having the medical case resolved is crucial, as that's where my PTSD started/worsened and which is a cause which is still active. After that is accomplished I can learn to deal with the events, as well as with my experiences with rape and sexual assault, things I can not possibly do at this point.

My hope is that the medical stuff will be resolved before using this medication is really going to give me trouble. I can't keep using it forever.